Find out changes to our services and advice in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

A message from PKC Chief Executive, Karen Reid

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone involved in the huge response efforts to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Council colleagues, partner organisations, and members of the public have all stepped up and shown themselves to be resilient, compassionate and dedicated: thank you.

The situation is very fast moving, and I urge you to check our social media channels and www.pkc.gov.uk/coronavirus for up to date information. 

This is not business as usual.  Our capacity is severely diminished by sickness, underlying health issues, movement restrictions for certain groups and carer requirements.  At the same time, demand for support of the most vulnerable is increasing.  We are concentrating on critical services, and even those may have to be provided at a reduced level as we prioritise support for those who need it most.  We will need your help with this: if you are able to take on more caring responsibilities for loved ones, or to volunteer in your community during this time, you will be freeing up vital support for people less fortunate.

Shielding

Shielding is the term used for our support to the most vulnerable people: people who will receive letters in the coming days from the NHS advising them that because of serious health conditions they should stay at home and self-isolate for 12 weeks.  We are establishing centres to provide food, medicine and other supports in the days and weeks ahead.

Education and Children's Services 

Our children's activity centres (hubs) opened today to the children of category 1 keyworkers.  We've made sure children attending are cared for in small groups by appropriate adults, and provided with food.  Staff have all the necessary public health guidance to keep children and themselves as safe as possible.  Thank you to all the staff who have supported the establishment of the children's activity centres and those who have volunteered to support other essential services.

We ask all other workers to please follow public health advice and keep your children at home, or with family and friends if necessary, to stop the virus spreading.  Do avoid children mixing with at-risk groups including the over 70s.

To help us provide this service in our hubs, or locally for area where there is a more suitable solution, we are calling for registered childminders across Perth and Kinross to get in touch.  If you are a childminder with capacity, and not in an at-risk group, please email childcare@pkc.gov.uk.

We are still supporting children identified as vulnerable, with very regular contact online, telephone calls and visits where appropriate.

Instead of free schools meals, for those not attending hubs we are providing direct payment to parents of eligible children.  These payments will also cover the Easter holiday period.

Social Care

We are providing outreach support to those who need it.  All sheltered housing units remain fully staffed with additional measures in place to isolate residents and ensure their safety and wellbeing.  We are making additional welfare checks on residents over 70 years old.  This includes our tenants who live in mainstream accommodation.

We are continuing to provide or arrange care and support for people in their own homes.  However, we are having to prioritise those greatest at risk, particularly those who have no family members who are able to step in and offer some support.  As our staff numbers reduce people may receive fewer visits, so that more people can be seen.

Unpaid carers can find support from PKAVS' carers hub or by calling their dedicated workers on 01738 567076.

Housing 

We are continuing to undertake emergency repairs and provide support to all our tenants, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable including those who are homeless.

Playparks

We have had to close all of our play areas, ball courts and skate parks in line with government advice.  Please don't gather at these sites or remove the signage - these measures are in place to protect human lives.

Of course, getting exercise and fresh air is important, and you can use the rest of our parks and open spaces for walking jogging or cycling, while following social distancing guidelines.

Finance 

We are prioritising payments within 7 days wherever possible to help our supplier firms experiencing cashflow difficulties.  We are accepting applications for grants to help businesses deal with the impact of COVID-19 , protecting jobs, preventing business closure and promoting economic recovery.  You can apply online at www.pkc.gov.uk/coronavirusbusinessfund

We have increased provision to our Welfare Fund which provides emergency support through crisis grants.  You can apply at www.pkc.gov.uk/scottishwelfarefund or phone 01738 476900.

We appreciate that this is a stressful time for some in terms of maintaining normal household bills, including Council Tax , and we are offering support, advice and guidance on how to manage this over the next few months.

If you are having difficulties paying bills please get in touch with our Welfare Rights Team as soon as possible on www.pkc.gov.uk/welfarerights or by emailing WelfareRights@pkc.gov.uk.

In addition, applications for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Single Person Discount can be made online by visiting www.pkc.gov.uk/localtaxes or emailing LocalTaxes@pkc.gov.uk.

Waste

We are working hard to maintain your recycling and waste collections.  We are redeploying staff from street sweeping and grounds maintenance teams in order to prioritise kerbside collections.  But we need your help.  Everyone should continue to reduce, reuse and recycle as much waste as possible.

Development Management

Within the resources available, we are trying to process planning applications which have already been made. New applications can be made online, but will take longer than usual to process.

Non-essential Services

Our staff, as you would expect of us, are being retasked and redeployed into providing essential services that support the health, wellbeing and safety of our citizens across Perth and Kinross.  While you will not see our usual standard of performance please understand that we are doing all we can to protect human life and must deploy our finite resources to this.

Public Health 

See NHSInform.Scot for the latest information.

If you've developed a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature in the last 7 days, stay at home for 7 days from the start of your symptoms even if you think your symptoms are mild.  Do not go to your GP, pharmacy or local hospital.

You should phone 111 if:

  • your symptoms worsen during isolation, especially if you're in a high or extremely high-risk group
  • breathlessness develops or worsens, particularly if you're in a high or extremely high-risk group
  • your symptoms haven't improved in 7 days

If you need an isolation note from your employer, you can get it here https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note - do not contact your GP or call 111 for an isolation note.

Are you worried about a child or vulnerable adult in Perth and Kinross?

  • for children and young people, call our Child Protection  helpline on 01738 476768, any time, day or night.  Alternatively email childprotection@pkc.gov.uk.  If you are concerned that a child or young person is in immediate danger, please call Police Scotland
  • for adults who may be a risk of harm (older people, people with a physical or learning disability and/or hearing/visual impairment, people with mental health issues) please call our Early Intervention Team on 0345 301 11 20, available 24 hours a day

What you can do

Protect yourself and others:

  • stay at home
  • only go outside for essential food, health and work reasons
  • stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people
  • wash your hands regularly
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home

I am talking daily with the Scottish Government, NHS and partner organisations , and have a strong team in place to manage the evolving situation.  One element of our command structure you are likely to see in action is our Welfare and Communities group, which is coordinating volunteers.  Find out more at www.pkc.gov.uk/coronavirus/communitysupport

It is so heartening to see people come forward and offering to help in any way they can: together we can make this work.

Thank you, and stay safe.

Karen Reid